Wednesday, November 30, 2016

My Favorite Reads of 2016

I will have read over 70 books before this year comes to an end.  I thought I would list my top ten reads, but when I went back over the list, I settled on the top five.  Not that I didn't enjoy many of the books, just that they were not outstanding and not worth giving a big 'thumbs up'.  So, with no reviews on my part, but links to online reviewers, here are my top five:

1.  Selling Russia's Treasures:  The Soviet Trade in Nationalized Art, 1917-1938
I was disappointed when I visited the Hermitage in St. Petersburg, Russia.  Where was all the great art?  The buildings were incredible, but not the art experience.  When I came home, I happened to read the 2006 book The Madonnas of Leningrad.  That led me to trying tofind out more about the selling of Russian art.  And that search led me to this book.  I borrowed it from the Michigan library service.  It was so fascinating, that I ended up purchasing the book for my collection.  It is fascinating reading and the pictures are superb.  I now want to go back the the National Gallery and see the pictures that once hung in the Hermitage and elsewhere in Russia.  I've already been fortunate enough to see several of the Faberge eggs held in American collections.







2.  Stealing the Mystic Lamb by Noah Charney
Stealing, selling?  What's the difference if it is not yours?  This is another book about art.  Earlier this year I was in Ghent, Belgium.  I was there for one purpose: to see the Ghent Altarpiece in St. Bavo's Cathedral.  Since no photography was allowed, I am using the pic from Wikipedia:

Lamgods open

The story of the stealing, recovery, re-stealing, re-recovery, etc. is just fascinating.  What was more fascinating was the story of how art has been stolen in war for centuries, a story which we are all too familiar with, where even now great works of art are being destroyed in war.

These last three selections are works of fiction by three of my favorite authors.

3.  The Black Widow by Daniel Silva
 If you have never read Daniel Silva, I highly recommend you start at the beginning of his Gabriel Allon series, the stories of an Israeli Mossad agent.  I've heard that Silva may be coming here for a visit next year and I sure hope I am around to see him.

4.  The Wrong Side of Goodbye by Michael Connelly
This is the latest in the Harry Bosch series.  I like Harry almost as much as I like Gabriel.  I am not overly fond of his half-brother, Mickey Haller aka the Lincoln Lawyer, but Mickey helps out in this book.  I love how Connelly has two separate stories going on at the same time and wraps up both of them by the end of the book.  Connelly was here for a visit a few years ago.  Alas, I was out of town.

5.  Home by Harlan Coben
My son introduced me to Harlan Coben years ago with the novel Tell No One (2001).  I was hooked.  I have since read all of his books.  'Home' brings back Myron Bolitar.   Not my favorite kind of 'detective', but he gets the job done and there is always great humor.  It also has some first person narrative by his friend Will and at first I was confused since we have never seen anything from his viewpoint before.  A good read with a  surprise ending (well, I didn't see it coming).

Did you read any outstanding books this year?  Happy reading.

12 comments:

  1. These all seem interesting! Always good to pick up a new author or two, might have to try some of these books and authors out. I have read a lot of good books this year. Funny I was thinking of doing a blog post on best reads too. Now, of course, all the names escape me, but I'll have to do some thinking if I do decide to put up a blog post with favorite reads. Its good though that we are reading, right?

    betty

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    1. My local library keeps track of my history. And I can easily find my Kindle books. Unfortunately, I have no record of my inter-library loans. I love reading.

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  2. I am going to have to check out Daniel Silva. Sounds like good reading. I have so many books I want to read. I am not a fast reader so I would never make it to 70 books in a year. I am hurrying to hit my goal of 35!

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    1. If I really enjoy a book, it gets read quickly. If I am not into it, it can take forever. Plus, several of the books I read were 'cozy' quick reads. I read all 18 of the Hannah Swensen novels by Joanne Fluke. Quick, cute reads.




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  3. I keep hearing the name Harlan Coben, but haven't read one yet. I think I'm going to have to change that.

    I think my favorite books this year have been "The Lace Reader" by Brunonia Barry and "A Week In Winter" by Maeve Binchy. It was the first one of hers that I've read, and I loved it.

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    1. I definitely recommend 'Tell No One' by Coben.

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  4. I haven't really kept a record of the things I have read this year. I did a couple of years ago and was surprised I had only read 100 books, I thought I read much more than that. I have done a lot of re-reading lately too, books I own and enjoy plus, as you know I have just re-read Dune and thoroughly enjoyed it this time although I didn't the first.

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    1. I have no idea how many books I got from the state library lending system. And I'd read even more if Charlie wasn't here, and I didn't have a yard, or a house, or movies to watch, etc. etc.

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  5. Interesting selection - all new to me. I was in the Hermitage about twelve years ago - I was visiting my son who was studying in St. Petersburg for a semester. We spent our time in the antiquities section. I was overwhelmed by the quantity of stuff in the displays. In terms of books, I think my most outstanding reads were 1491 by Charles Mann, The Tin Drum by Gunter Grass, and The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver.

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    1. I've heard of your last selection, but have not read it. I saw the movie adaptation of The Tim Drum, but never read the book, which I am guessing is way better, lol. I am clueless re 1491. A few years before my time.


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  6. What a shame that they sold their beautiful collection. I would love to read that book. I would also love to see the Faberge eggs

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    1. One of the most fascinating things in the book are pictures of diamond jewelry. Seems no one has any idea what happened to much of it. I think I can guess.

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